No Complaints #20: Blood, ice and shitphones

This election is now really cutting into my tumblr-time in quite a serious way. Apologies if the gif selection has suffered as a result.

Things to read

“There are a couple of things to learn from the ice ball press. The first is some physics equation about the relationship between heat and pressure, which I have forgotten despite having to explain it to eager club members at least once a shift. The second is that people who like to condescend will find a way to condescend about anything, including the best shape for ice.”

A piece about ridiculous rich people and some serious thoughts about gender. Sometimes I think the internet is taking my requests. Email to Pocket.



“The Smiths had clever, camp, and literary sewn up, but they also had access to my world of teenage pain; they were the opposite of bombastic, but they were best played loud. They had amazing guitar riffs and wilting self-deprecation. They were full of outrage, but not the way punk had taught me.”

An intense, and at times quite theoretical, discussion between an American academic and an English poet about The Smiths. Since one of my university tutors (who I believe is now a subscriber – hello, Guy!) once made me write an essay about the lyrics of The Queen is Dead, I felt extra-qualified to do knowing nods all the way through this. Email to Pocket.



“Agreements were signed. Hitler prepared to invade Poland. Three days before Britain declared war, on September 3, 1939, Janet Vaughan received a telegram from the Medical Research Council. It read, ‘Start bleeding’.”

The always-excellent Rose George tells the extraordinary story of Janet Vaughan, who helped to bring about mass blood donation and transfusion. Email to Pocket.



“Loneliness is not trivial. Death is not cute. To call stories like this quirky is to admit that you haven’t really listened. Occasionally a male artist is labelled quirky, but usually because his style is perceived as feminine. ‘Surreal’. In fact, male artists who are similar to [Miranda] July, whose work is unusual and prolific and who divides critics, are likely to be labelled geniuses. A genius, perhaps, is a male artist whose work is difficult to define. While with a female artist we have the word right here, ready. It’s ‘quirky’.”

If you call me quirky I will strangle you with my brightly-coloured tights. Email to Pocket.



“The easy tactile pleasure of a nice phone makes you feel like you’re at the centre of the internet, which is designed to respond to your desires. A shitphone is a comparatively degraded interface with the world. A flicker, a stutter and a momentary freeze are all it takes to remind you that what we think of as the internet  –  the interminable feeds  –  will move on without you, and that this deflating realisation awaits every giddy or obsessed smartphone user, eventually.”

Come for the interesting musings on technology and commoditisation. Stay for the amazing stock photos of people using potatoes and bricks as if they were phones. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

Millenial, Alex Edelman’s stand-up show about the desperate hardship of being a recently-graduated twenty-something Jewish American guy in the 21st century, is very, very funny. Being genuinely amusing when you come with such an eye-roll-worthy amount of adjectival baggage is difficult; he pulls it off with aplomb. While listening to this extract of his set on my walk to work the other day I let out such a weirdly loud squawk of laughter that a startled cyclist very nearly got flattened by a bus. I can think of no higher recommendation for comedy than a barely-avoided road accident

Things to watch

I have never been so calm as while watching this.

A flight through 17th century London.

Anne Hathaway is everything.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Take that, naked snail.


The guest gif

Let's play a game, politicians.

THE END. See you next time*!
*Next time will probably be next Friday. If you want to suggest things I should include in the next one of these, please do reply and send me links.